The U.S. is fighting ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and the Taliban around the Middle East while continuing to water their roots.
Category Archives: Middle East
Ahmad Kabariti reports from Gaza on how the unfolding crisis in the Gulf around Qatar could move Hamas closer to Iran, or cripple the group in its power struggle with the Palestinian Authority.
Ismail Zeyada, a Dutch citizen of Palestinian origin, has started a civil lawsuit holding two Israeli commanders responsible for the attack on his family home in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. Six of Ziada’s family members were killed in the July 2014 attack: his mother (70), three of his brothers, his sister-in-law and a 12-year old nephew. Zeyada’s attorney, well-known human rights lawyer Liesbeth Zegveld, says, “You can’t bomb a house inhabited by civilians. Deliberately killing six of them, without necessity, is considered a war crime.”
Iran today is not a unified, expansionist juggernaut, but an increasingly corrupt, discredited regime that faces rising opposition. But U.S. policy reflects the Israeli and Saudi claim that Iran is supposedly unified, powerful and expanding, so it must be confronted everywhere.
On June 10, leading anti-Muslim organization ACT for America, whose founder, Brigitte Gabriel once described Muslims as being a “natural threat to civilized people of the world, particularly Western society”, initiated a nationwide ‘rally against Sharia law’. Most anti-Sharia protesters were met with fierce opposition, but further organized action will be required to squash the violent surge of anti-Muslim sentiment that’s grown ever more ominous since the election of Donald Trump.
Jaime Omar Yassin’s questions the celebration of Gal Gadot, not as Wonder Woman, but as a feminist radical icon, “Don’t get me wrong, I’m uncomfortable even suggesting that women—and especially Black women and men—should have to interrogate their heroes in those rare moments when a Black or female superhero makes it on to screen. I am not trying to establish a checklist that has to be satisfied before you can enjoy a race or gender champion brought to the silver screen. But I think a larger question centers around Zionism’s compatibility with both feminism and Black empowerment. This is a question that is, unfortunately, much more frequently brought up by Zionists who also identify as leftists, who seek to marginalize Pro-Palestinian positions as the square peg in a discourse of liberation.”
The abrupt announcement that Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, Yemen, the Maldive Islands, and the eastern government in divided Libya have broken all economic and political ties with Qatar has given rise to a tsunami of conjecture, wild speculation, and most of all, to wishful thinking and doomsday worries. Richard Falk untangles the threads of the story so far what it could mean for U.S. foreign policy in the region.
Israel’s 1967 occupation is often focused upon as a root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But it is part of a greater plan – the Zionist conquest of the whole of Palestine.
Eamon Murphy reviews Nathan Thrall’s new book The Only Language They Understand: Forcing Compromise in Israel and Palestine: “Just what should be done remains vague, in Thrall’s book and in discussion generally, in large part because the U.S. role is exempted from realistic analysis. If, as Thrall contends, only force—understood to include popular pressure and economic sanctions, as well as violence—has a record of drawing concessions from the parties, then the question is, who will force the U.S. to stop perpetuating the conflict, its policy for the last 50 years? Until some tectonic shift in global power, the only possible answer is us. But writing too polite to name the enemy, or too enmeshed in the establishment to recognize it, seems unlikely to bring about the necessary change in consciousness.”
Tom Suarez introduces Paldocs.net, a website of declassified Mandate-era documents held by the British government that served as primary sources for his book ‘State of Terror.’ After facing a coordinated effort to silence him following the publication of his book Suarez writes, “the site is intended to make the Zionist creation myth do battle with the historical record itself, not with me. Its sampling of documents demonstrate that I am merely the messenger — and more importantly, it is my hope that it will whet the appetite of others to pursue this neglected area that is absolutely vital to ending the misery in Israel-Palestine, and indeed in the greater Middle East.”
Israel provoked the 1967 war with the knowledge that it would win easily, and that it had American backing to hold on to territorial conquests, unlike the ’56 war, Norman Finkelstein explains as we approach the 50th anniversary of that historic conflict.
William Ruhm just returned from a delegation to Palestine where he found himself inspired by Palestinian steadfastness in the face of Israeli oppression: “When I find myself doubting the efficacy of this struggle or fearing that change is impossible, I will remember Issa’s prompt and unflinching response to my expression of doubt two days ago: We have to do the work, with steadfastness, because too much is at stake.”
Israel’s policy of ‘economic warfare’ against Gaza makes BDS pale in comparison. But Israel would have us think BDS is extreme, and that Israeli policy is moderate.
Following the deadly attack in Manchester, England, Donald Trump used “terrorism” to avoid confronting the complicated, compromised and messy reality in which we live, especially in the Middle East. For Trump, in all the speeches he made this week in the region, terror appeared to be the only cause of the problem, and its defeat would be sure to bring peace. Robert Cohen writes, “Trump’s narrative lacked understanding, substance, and integrity. And that went for terror in Manchester as well as the Middle East.”
Carlos Latuff offers a synopsis of Donald Trump’s visit to the Middle East.
Michael Lesher writes ahead of Jerusalem Day, “please do not expect any kind words from me over the latest attempt to distract newspaper readers from the advancing flood of Israeli apartheid–I mean, the spat over whether or not Donald Trump thinks the Western Wall is in Israel. The real question is why anyone would think the retaining wall of the Second Temple complex, built by Herod (not Solomon) as part of an urban renewal project meant to broadcast his own glory, was worth a war. For that matter, who could imagine that this pile of stones, or anything like it, would ever justify 50 years of military occupation?”
The Jewish people have a centuries-long history of trauma, persecution, and exile as both victims and perpetrators. The Zionist project in Israel has further led to an endless series of violent conflicts. Consequently, war and trauma have further reinforced a state of collective PTSD within Israeli Jewish communities, which manifests in a persistent fear of annihilation even when threat sources are absent, abnormal defensive and aggressive reactivity and a susceptibility to fear reinstatement, i.e. persistent fear mongering and propaganda by Israeli politicians. The results of this collective PTSD is the victimization of other groups, most notably the Palestinian people.
Ahmed Kabariti reports from Gaza: “Among Palestinians residing in Gaza, the prevailing view of the electricity crisis is that the PA wants control inside of Gaza and is using energy to send a message to Hamas — give up control of Gaza, or you will pay the cost of chaos.”
“I have to acknowledge that I was also crying for the loss of my innocent past, a time when the story of Israel was simple, when I could count on the ultimate success of my heroic people” — the late Marty Federman, commenting on the movie Exodus in 2011, when he had an unblinking view of Israel’s human rights abuses.
Once again, the Board of Deputies of British Jews has shown itself to be a bully when it comes to interfaith dialogue on Israel/Palestine. This time its victim is the Church of Scotland. It’s all depressingly predictable and immensely tiresome for anyone who cares about justice in the Holy Land and indeed the future of Jewish-Christian relations in the U.K. Later this month (20-26 May) the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly will consider a new report advising the Church on how to mark this year’s Balfour Declaration centenary. Balfour was a member of the Church of Scotland and the Church has a long association with the Holy Land through schools, projects supporting Christian Palestinians and partnerships with organizations promoting justice and reconciliation.